Recipes: Early Spring Watermelon Radish & Arugula Salad

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Equinox Blessings dear friends! Spring couldn’t have come at a better time this year, I was beginning to lose hope that I’d ever see sunshine on my bare skin again.  This week I’ve been enjoying daily walks with friends and romancing ideas of outdoor picnics in the park. I’ve grown tired of my root veggies and have already yielded to my cravings for light, raw cleansing foods.  Physically, emotionally and energetically, I’m feeling the call to lighten up!

In March, we are still emerging from the Kapha season of late winter/early spring – a time in Ayurveda characterized by the water and earth element.  In our bodies, the kapha dosha governs strength, immunity, structure & lubrication in our bodies, with properties that are oily, slimy, cool, moist, sticky, heavy, stable, strong and soft. As kapha slowly accumulates through winter, a result usually of heavier holiday eating, improper digestion & slow elimination, congestive disturbances develop in the body and create an excess of ama (toxins) in the system.  Signs of spring signal a time where we can begin to release these stagnated toxins in our system.

Radish Arugula Sprout SaladTo align with the springtime energy, adding in more cleansing foods and stimulating spices will help to release the dullness of winter from our bodies and minds. Pungent, warming and drying spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, fennel work to eliminate the mucous forming aspects of the watery kapha. Spring bounty offers naturally cleansing bitter and astringent greens, like nettle, dandelion, arugula, watercress and mustard greens, to purify and detoxify our tissues.  This quick and simple salad incorporates the pungent flavors of arugula, radishes, garlic, and mustard to assist the body in cleansing in an oh-so-tasty way. Pair it with my new watercress & asparagus soup recipe, and you have the perfect revitalizing spring dinner!

Nutritional Profile: Watermelon Radish

Radishes, belonging to the cruciferous family, are relatively low calorie roots that pack in a large punch of nutrients and antioxidants. The watermelon radish, in particular, is an heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon radish. Their flavor is hotter towards the outside white flesh and sweeter towards the inside pink flesh.  It’s pungent, peppery flavor and sulphur-based compounds increase bile flow and support natural liver and gall bladder cleansing – perfect for flushing out accumulated toxins from winter.  Some other benefits of radishes include:

  • Radishes contain an antioxidant compound called sulforaphane. Studies suggest that sulforaphane has proven powerful against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by inhibiting cancer cell growth.
  • Rich in vitamin C, provides about 15 mg or 25% of DRI of vitamin C per 100 g
  • Adequate levels of folates, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium.

IMG_0499SHAVED WATERMELON RADISH, ARUGULA & SPROUT SALAD
WITH LEMON BASIL VINAIGRETTE 

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ cup flax oil
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, whisk with a fork until well combined.  Store in airtight glass container in your fridge until ready to use.

Salad
2 cups arugula
½ cup sprouts of your choice
1 small watermelon radish, shaved thinly on mandolin
1 tbsp hemp seeds
handful fresh basil, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well with vinaigrette.

Serves 2 

Dosha Qualities
Increases Vata
Decreases Pitta
Decreases Kapha

Note: Raw foods in general can decrease Pitta, but radishes can have a slightly heating effect. If you find yourself with an abundance of heat in the summer, try swapping the radishes for sliced cucumber instead.

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